Friday June 15, 2007 - John Prine at the Warner Theatre, Washington DC with special guest Iris DeMent and back up band: Jason Wilber and Dave Jacques
By: Erin Meye
I saw John with Iris Dement the other night in Washington, DC. Of course the show was great. I love to see him at the Warner Theatre. Its a really nice venue. and he is loved there. It is so cool to watch the crowd coming in. Usually the Warner Theatre is a very formal venue with very formally attired audiences. But you know its Prinetime when the streets outside the place are filled with peace loving, ponytailed, tye-dyed hippies of all ages. Some of the groups have four generations of Priners coming, Grandpa's to Grandbabies. Can't wait till my little guy is old enough to tag along with me. (He already sings Please Don't Bury Me along with me every night and he is only 18 months old.
I am very proud of that.)
John sang a lot of the old songs. Please Don't Bury Me, Dear Abby, Far From Me... Last couple of times it was mostly Fair and Square stuff, but this time around it seemed like more of my old favorites. What a treat hearing he and Iris do In Spite of Ourselves together in person! Iris was excellent. Never heard her live (or alone, actually, its always a duet) and I just loved her songs. Really good writing, gotta get a hold of her cds now....
I went with a group who although were longtime fans, were seeing John for the very first time. They were amazed, tickled and grinning from ear to ear all the way home, needless to say.
John said at one point there was the time he had a bunch of songs ready to get recorded and his manager said he needed to write one more. He said "No I don't...", manager said, "Yes you do.", so he said was going to write the worst song anyone ever heard in the world. (how could he do that, he's John Prine?) so he said he wrote it, manager recorded it, but after having to sing it a bunch of times he started liking it after all.... then he went into Fish and Whistle!
THAT'S the song he thought was the worst song ever?
And right before he sang The Glory of True Love, he told of how he was writing this at his kitchen table with his friend. John had his wife on his mind but he hoped his friend did not.
The music was excellent.
Jason and Dave added their expertise as always to help make this the best Prine show I have seen.
But then I say that for all his shows...
My wife and I were excited about going, but worried he might not meet our high expectations. We'd seen him a few years earlier at the more intimate Birchmere in Alexandria, and that show made a lasting memory.
The show Friday was even better. At the Birchmere, the tone was a bit somber, dark and quiet. Prine was affable, but didn't interact much with the crowd. At the sold-out Warner Theater, he danced, high-fived the entire front row and seemed to have more fun than anyone in the audience. His positive vibe was contagious. Prine turns 61 this fall, but seems to have rediscovered his youth. Highlights included "Fish and Whistle," "Angel from Montgomery," "Please Don't Bury Me," "In Spite of Ourselves (with Iris Dement)," "Unwed Fathers (with Dement)," "Hello in There," "Illegal Smile" - a sing-along verson, "Sam Stone" and "Paradise," one of his encores. He ended his regular set with the rocking "Lake Marie," a song my wife and I both love, although we're not entirely sure what it's about. Bottom line: Another lasting memory. Any other John Prine fans? Anyone else at the show? Anyone have an interpretation of "Lake Marie."
By: Dave McKenna
Full review - here
John Prine is easy to root for.
After battling industry apathy and cancer and whupping each foe, he could have pleased the crowd that packed the Warner Theatre on Friday just by showing up.
Prine, being the old pro, more than showed up, however. The 60-year-old folk legend delivered a two-hour set that teemed with hootenanny spirit even during its many tearjerking interludes. The angry "Taking a Walk" and the humorous "She Is My Everything," both from Prine's 2005 cancer-comeback CD, "Fair and Square," were among the few offerings not written long before the turn of the millennium.
He turned the house lights up as the crowd took over lead vocals on "Illegal Smile," a stoner anthem and one of many tunes taken from his 1971 debut LP. He dedicated another, his often-covered "Angel From Montgomery," to its most famous coverer, Bonnie Raitt. Accompanist Jason Wilber set a soulful mood while jumping from mandolin to slide guitar on the tune.
Other nuggets from that first record included the soul-crushing "Sam Stone," a tale of a troubled war veteran's death spiral, and "Hello in There," the young Prine's argument that getting old is okay for trees and rivers but not people.
Prine invited opener Iris DeMent, who's so comfortable singing sad songs she should find work as a warm-up act at a funeral parlor, to duet with him on "(We're Not) The Jet Set," the George and Tammy novelty classic. DeMent stuck around and backed Prine on "Unwed Fathers," a brutal story-song about the shunning and shaming of a pregnant teen, and "Paradise," chronicling the downfall of a Kentucky coal town. As was the case all night, tears and cheers abounded.
Full review here --
John Prine w / Iris DeMent
Well, you know how when you attend a concert, you're always looking for a way that these musicians can really make it a special show for you? John Prine surely did that for me and I suspect all the folks at the Warner Theatre in Washington DC tonight. He was in fine form for a man who nearly lost his voice and it could have been his life from cancer 5 or so years ago. The fine Dr's at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston Tx can be credited for keeping John up a going. Prine will be the first to admit he never had much of a voice anyway but for us long time John Prine fans, his voice is as soothing as the waves rolling in on a beach or a nice light rain while one's trying to get in a good Sunday afternoon nap.
Iris Dement opened the show for Prine and did a good job on piano during her 45 minute set.
John Had the same two gents with him since my last show down in Austin 3 or so years ago. Jason Wilber/Lead Guitar and Dave Jacques/Bass. Man this threesome can rock-that's for sure. Off his Fair and Square CD he did Taking A Walk, Glory of True Love, She Is My Everything. From his huge bag of tricks John played, Illegal Smile, Dear Abby, Souvenirs (always remembering to credit the late great Steve Goodman for penning that tune), Sam Stone, Hello In There, Paradise, Please Don't Bury Me, Far From Me, Angel From Montgomery, We're Not The Jet Set, In Spite of Ourselves, Let's Invite Them Over (all duets with Iris Dement), Jesus The Missing Years, Lake Marie, Fish & A Whistle, Unwed Fathers,Speed of the Sound of Loneliness, Spanish Pipedream and probably a dozen more. I just couldn't remember them all. Besides meeting two Congressmen before the gig-they were looking for tix, I was lucky enuf to be one of the fortunate few to shake hands with John before the encores. This has to be one of my favorite shows in a long long time. John was having fun with the crowd as everyone pitched their favorite songs out to John. He'd respond, to one-yeah that's and oldie but goodie or we're gonna get around to that one. Dave playin that stand up bass is just incredible. Jason is not slouch on the guitar and plays a damn good mandolin too. Even ole Prine himself can strum that Martin or Gibson whichever one he plays-lots of guitar changes. It was a long show and I admit I was tired after the show-I got my money's worth on this one-no complaints at all. In my humble opinion, John did one hell-of-a job covering his most recent tunes as well as the crowd pleasers from the numerous albums he's done. I can't wait till the next John Prine show.
Got a great John Prine photo? Upload it here
and some will be added to the pages. Please add your John Prine
concert experience, link to a current 2007 review, preview,
announcement, blog, news, photos or set list. Click to add